Laura Ingraham Supports Iraq War, Religious Values
by Ari Armstrong, November 16, 2007
It was the conservatives' night. The only two known Democrats at the Independence Institute's Twenty-Third Annual Founders' Night Dinner held November 14 were David Kopel, research director for the Institute, and a friend of Tim Travis. Travis, CEO of Eaton Metal Products, received the David S. D'Evelyn Award that night. He said he invited all of his Democratic friends to join him: one came, and the other one couldn't make it. (My wife and I are registered unaffiliated, and I believe at least two minor parties were represented.)
Travis, shown in the photo at right, said, "I'm a conservative and I'm proud of it. I'm a contrarian, and I'm proud of that, too." He lamented the "blizzard of liberalism that's going on in our state."
About the only break in the conservative talk, aside from Jon Caldara's drinking jokes, came when Kopel handed the Vern Bickel Award to Peter Blake, long a respected columnist for the Rocky Mountain News who recently left the position. Kopel said that Blake's "standards of excellence have been the highest;" he "elevated public discourse in Colorado." Blake, shown at left, offered a modest, and politics-free, acceptance speech.
Kopel also shared a few thoughts during the social hour. In a lightly edited mp3 interview, Kopel discusses School Choice for Kids, a new web page (also available in Spanish), and his forthcoming article refuting the United Nations' statement against a fundamental, individual right of self-defense.
Laura Ingraham, popular conservative radio host, offered the keynote address. The "surge in Iraq is showing real signs of success," she said, ironically just as several Hollywood antiwar movies are bombing at the box office.
Ingraham said that she went to Iraq for two weeks after her chemotherapy for breast cancer. She told some of the soldiers there, "I feel more like I'm in America here than I do in Washington, D.C."
She heard from a veteran of the war who lost a leg, "This is a war we need to win." Ingraham said that the war is making a "difference in the lives of people" and bringing them freedom and liberty. She told a heart-wrenching story about the vet's recovery, goals, and message. Soldiers, she said, offer "the ultimate in human sacrifice."
After urging Republicans to offer a populist message to appeal to "the little person," Ingraham promoted religious values. She worried that people are "numb and dumb to the pornification of our culture." She said that, without virtue, "you can kiss the free market goodbye." Unfortunately, the "free love generation" continues to influence the culture, she said.
Ingraham suggested that Republicans can win in 2008 with five issues: restraining taxes, fighting terrorism, promoting ethics, fighting illegal immigration, and promoting "life," by which she meant opposing abortion.
Ingraham said that religious practice is paramount. She quoted George Washington to the effect that religion is necessary to the nation's morality.
I was not persuaded by most of Ingraham's major arguments. I agree with Yaron Brook and Elan Journo that the Iraq war was a mistake precisely because it was neither chosen nor waged in a manner consistent with American self-defense. I agree with Leonard Peikoff that Christianity did not provide the moral foundation for the United States, but that our nation is fundamentally the product of an Enlightenment philosophy of reason and happiness on earth. Finally, I agree with Ryan Sager that, strategically, Republicans will not do well in the Interior West by trying to impose Christianity-inspired social controls. I happen to live in one of the districts in which the left successfully hammered Republicans over abortion. And now, with the crazy abortion ban possibly headed for the ballot, many Coloradans may be especially leery of the religious right.
Ingraham was most persuasive when beating up the anti-American, relativistic left. I only hope that more Americans start to look for an alternative to the relativist left and the religious right.
But, in the end, Caldara -- president of the Institute -- invited Ingraham because she's a well-known speaker. Caldara himself leans toward fiscal conservatism and hands-off social policy; the Institute mostly sticks to matters of taxes, economic controls, schools, guns, and crime. For Caldara, the night was mostly about showcasing the Independence Institute and encouraging its supporters. It's a night to dress up, meet the politicians and wonks, and out-party the liberals.